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Norman French (was: Thorn vs Eth)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, July 11, 2002, 20:10
On Wednesday, July 10, 2002, at 08:54 , Christophe Grandsire wrote:

> En réponse à Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>: > >> >> The Old French were *not* the same as the modern French. _They_ did >> not have /Z/ - they still pronounced words like 'damage', 'gentle' etc >> with >> /dZ/ which was similar enough to the Old English sound written {cg} to >> keep my ancestors happy. >> > > Very true, although my book on Old French said that the particular > dialect that > would become Anglo-Norman had quite early deaffricated its affricates, > compared > to other dialects of Old French..
Maybe it happened earlier in Anglo-Norman than in some other varieties, but that {ch} did come into English as [tS] and not the [S] of later French must surely be evidence that deaffrication had not taken before 1066 :) Indeed, I understood that deaffrication did not become until the middle of the 13th century; so even if Anglo-Norman began a bit earlier, this was still some time after the 11th cent.
>> And Old French _did_ have the sounds [D] and [T]. The English 'faith', >> e. >> g., >> is derived from Old French 'feit' [fEiT] - they were positional >> variants >> of /d/ >> and /t/ and eventually died out. >> > > My book said that they were already dead in all dialects by the XIth > century
Ah, but my book says that final [T] did not disappear until the XIth cent :)
> (which represents a very early version of Old French, so early that it > nearly > cannot be called French at all). Were Anglo-Normans already in England by > then?
I think not. There was certainly quite a bit of Norman influence before 1066 - the last Saxon King, Edward the Confessor, was a staunch Nomanophile. But was in the XIth cent.
> And I thought the English had borrowed French words with final /t/ as [T] > only > because of the fact that the French /t/ was dental rather than alveolar.. > .
Maybe - but that only makes sense if we know that English /t/ was alveolar at that early period. As there was no way of recording sound at the time, we can only make intelligent guesses. One wonders what evidence your book gives for [T] and [D] having disappeared everywhere by the XIth cent. Also the Normans were, as their name shows, simply Vikings who had settled down in north France and become frenchified. Might not some early Norse habits have persisted? Might not, e.g. [T] and [D] persisted longer amongst them? Just ideas - I guess short of time travel we'll never know all the answers. Ray.


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>